The letters home to his family by Gerald Goodlake, a young officer in the Coldstream Guards, make remarkable reading. They vividly describe the ill-preparedness of the British Army and the dire conditions experienced by all ranks in the Crimea. Goodlake's views on senior officers were frank to say the least! Most important, Goodlake's initiative and courage in organising and leading what were 'Special Forces' were rewarded by the award of one of the first Victoria Crosses. Goodlake served in the Crimea from early 1854 to the end two years later.